CourseSmart Brings 7,000+ Textbooks to the iPhone and iPod Touch


The Wall Street Journal reports (subscription required) on CourseSmart, a service now offering e-textbooks for students on the iPhone and iPod touch. The platform consists of a free eTextbooks for the iPhone application [App Store] that interfaces with a student's free CourseSmart account, where the student is able to rent electronic editions of over 7,000 textbooks for his or her iPhone or iPod touch.

The new applications, free for subscribers to CourseSmart LLC, will let students access their full electronic textbooks, read their digital notes and search for specific words and phrases.

"Nobody is going to use their iPhone to do their homework, but this does provide real mobile learning," said Frank Lyman, CourseSmart's executive vice president. "If you're in a study group and you have a question, you can immediately access your text."

Subscriptions are priced at an average of approximately 50% that of corresponding printed editions, although the electronic versions typically expire after 180 days and resale is not permitted.

CourseSmart, which was created in 2007 as a joint venture of six higher-education publishers, including McGraw-Hill Education and Pearson PLC's Pearson Education, operates on a subscription model. Typically students rent a book for 180 days; when their subscription expires, they lose access to the title.

The company, which doesn't release financial results, offers its digital books at about 50% of the retail price of the corresponding physical textbook. Although students can't resell their e-textbooks, Mr. Lyman said they typically don't get more than 50% of what they paid for a new book when they resell it.

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